How To Bootstrap Your Online Business

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. Starting any business is an ambitious, both a potentially rewarding but also a perilous feat. Online business are more prevalent now than ever before, and there are a separate set of considerations for starting and online business versus a traditional bricks and mortar business. The following contributed post is thus entitled, How To Bootstrap Your Online Business.

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When it comes to starting an online business, there’s no doubt that it can be an expensive thing to get up and running. With so many things to have in place, it can be quite off-putting and you may wonder if it’s even financially possible for you to start an online business without taking out loads of cash loans.

The good news is, it’s completely possible to do it and when you’re just starting out it’s actually advisable to bootstrap until you know it’s something that’s actually working because you don’t want to invest a ton of money into something that simply doesn’t work and then you end up losing everything you put into it.

In this post, we’re going to give you some tips on how exactly you can bootstrap your online business.

Realize that not everything needs to be brand new:

Especially when starting an online business, then one of the main things you’re likely going to need is a computer, and although it can be tempting to buy the latest model with all the bells and whistles, this is something that will eat into the costs of starting your business, so you need to shop around and you’ll soon see that you can actually pick up great things like computers and other things you need by buying second hand. The fact that it’s second hand doesn’t mean it’s going to be any less of a good quality machine – you can either buy direct from someone who’s selling something because they never really used it or you can buy a refurbished item that’s basically the same as a brand new one, but for a fraction of the cost.

Avoid bright shiny object syndrome:

Bright shiny object syndrome is something that affects many people, and business owners are pretty badly affected by it – especially since you’re going to be excited about starting your business, it can be difficult to avoid buying all the things you think you need, but that are actually nothing more than a distraction. To avoid this, you need to discipline yourself and keep things simple within your business. Allow yourself to get clear about what things you actually need for running your business and just stick to those – you can always add new things on later if you need to.

Learn things yourself:

One of the best things a business owner can do is outsource all the things they don’t enjoy and that they aren’t particularly good at, but in the beginning if you’re trying to bootstrap, then you need to be able to learn these things for yourself. Sure it may take a bit of time and mean you’re working a lot, but even when you come to outsource these things later, they can be useful if you already know how to do them and have to step in for a day or teach someone else how to do them.

Have a plan and stay focused:

As a business owner, failing to plan is planning to fail so it’s super important that you make yourself a clear plan and stick to it so that you don’t get distracted by thinking you have to do all the things and get every shiny new thing out there.

Things To Consider When Starting Your Online Business

Three of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship and Technology. Today most business/enterprises have to establish and maintain an online presence. There a few things to consider when starting an online business. The following contributed post is thus entitled; Things To Consider When Starting Your Online Business.

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Starting a business has become easier than ever before thanks to the internet. The accessibility afforded to you by being online is unique to this era and should encourage you to put your idea into action. So bearing that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the important things that you must make sure that you don’t overlook as well as the useful tools available to anyone at the beginnings of their company.

Website

One of the first things you will want to do is get your company up and running with a website. To do this you will have to make some decisions. For starters, do you want to host a web page on your own domain or use a third party hosting platform? This is a personal decision but the pros and cons of what you want to do must be carefully considered. Security, which we will discuss further later, is supposed to be improved by using a third party host as it separates your website from the rest of your company’s IT infrastructure – this may be more important as you grow rather than first starting out. There are also different costs associated with hosting internally and externally. If you are going to host your website on personal servers, then you will have to purchase the hardware required, whereas a third party host will charge you a monthly fee.

That said, you might prefer to start off by buying a domain name and starting the basics of your website online using some of the many web building tools available to you.

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Security

Security plays a major role across every aspect of your business, especially when you are setting one up online. You will need to make sure that the computer you are using is secured via antivirus and firewalls and likewise your network is also protected. You should look into more about internet security as a matter of urgency when starting your business. Think of it like this; if you were running a shop you would have; security alarms for when you’re not available, CCTV to watch over your store and a safe to keep all of your belongings secure. You should treat your computer and the internet as you would a shop, making sure that it is protected at all cost from cybercriminals.

Security is not just about others attempting to steal from you but also protecting yourself against loss. Making sure you are regularly backing up your hard drive and keeping important documents in more than one place. Consider using cloud storage as a way to secure data online rather than just on your hard drive. Problems do happen, and it is best that you have solutions before they occur.

These are just two example of things you must consider when starting your online business. Remember, there is a whole internet of things (IOC) out there for you to be using, so get learning and turn your plans into something big.

How Your Online Presence Could Make or Break Your Business

Two of the key focuses of my blog are Business and Entrepreneurship and Technology. With so much business being conducted online these days, every business must be aware of how their online presence impacts their ability to do business, and to continue to thrive. The following contributed post is thus entitled; How Your Online Presence Could Make or Break Your Business.

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Running a business isn’t simply about coming up with winning ideas and providing excellent services to your clients, you need to have a strong online presence in order to be noticed. Nowadays if you don’t have a killer website and stunning social media strategy you might as well leave your business at the door. Using social media correctly is so important to every business owner, so you need to brush up your skills right now and make sure your online presence doesn’t let your business down. There are many mistakes that you could be making on a regular basis which jeopardises your business, so be aware of these ups and downs.

Wasted Money on Advertising

If you aren’t quite sure of your advertising strategies then you mustn’t try to do it all yourself. You could waste a tonne of money on useless campaigns that will never attract any leads. Look into reputable advertising companies who can assist you with all of your marketing needs. You will be able to hone in on your target audience and discover exactly how you can bring them in. Discuss your options with an agency and you can be sure you won’t be wasting any money on your marketing methods.

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Unprofessional Social Media

You could deter somebody from your business straight away if your social media platforms aren’t up to scratch. You could have posted controversial content online which sparked a heated discussion or you might not be using the correct language to suit the demographic of your target audience. Make sure your spelling, grammar and facts are all thoroughly checked over otherwise you run the risk of giving off an unprofessional vibe. You want your potential customers to trust you and want to invest their money in you so give them every reason to.

Website Glitches

When a customer goes online and wants to buy one of your products or services, there is nothing more frustrating than being greeted with glitches in the system or slow loading times. Keep your website running smoothly and seamlessly so that your audience have no reason to click away from that checkout page. There are websites that will check the loading times of your individual pages; if you are waiting for more than three seconds, the chances are that your potential shopper will lose interest. Keep your images as small as possible and this will help to lessen the loading time.

Invisible to Search Engines

Improving your search engine ranking should be very high on your priority list. If you can’t be found online then you aren’t going to get many sales. Do everything you can to improve your SEO strategies so that you start ranking higher on popular search engines such as Google and Bing! This could involve tweaking your keywords, starting a blog and reassessing your website descriptions.

So pay close attention to your online presence, website and the way in which you operate your social media, as it could be the make or break element for your business.

Guaranteeing Customers’ Security When They Shop Online With You

Two of the key focuses of my blog are Business and Entrepreneurship and Technology. With so much business being conducted online these days, it’s important to understand how to best to protect your customers during online transactions. The following contributed post is thus entitled; Guaranteeing Customers’ Security When They Shop Online With You.

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Online security used to only really apply to big-time businesses, as small businesses tended to operate through brick and mortar stores. They could simply accept cash payments and not worry about the technological world. But nowadays, increasing numbers of small business owners are taking to the web and operating online. No matter how small your business may be, if you are operating online, you really need to take customer safety seriously when it comes to taking payments. There are all sorts of individuals out there with bad intentions who would happily take a customer’s payment details and use them to purchase goods for themselves, or sell them on to others. However, if this is unfamiliar territory for you, you may feel a little bit lost when it comes to guaranteeing customer safety when processing sales and transactions online. But not to worry. Here are the basics that you need to know when it comes to protecting the individuals who choose to shop with you!

Using a Reliable Payment Gateway

One of the areas where customer information is most commonly leaked, or most commonly hacked into, is through a payment gateway. A payment gateway is a service that authorises credit and debit card payments, deducting funds from a customers’ account and depositing them into your account. In order to authorise this transaction, customers have to input their personal details (including name and address) and banking details (such as a card number, an expiry date, and a security number) into the payment gateway. By using a secure gateway, you can ensure that this information is safely collected without interference. Consider using a reliable service like BlueSnap. BlueSnap can work through both online and mobile devices, guaranteeing a positive experience for all of your customers. BlueSnap also keeps customers within your webpage when taking payments. This removes the need to redirect customers from your page to a separate payment page, reducing the risk of interference from cyber criminals along the way.

Accept Credit Card Payments

Many small businesses are reluctant to accept credit card payments, as you are likely to be charged more in order to process this transaction. This, of course, dips into your overall profits. However, many customers feel a lot more secure paying via credit card, as many credit companies offer to reverse charges for fraudulent transactions without a quibble. If you value making your customers feel safe and secure, it’s worth fronting the extra costs that come hand in hand with accepting credit card payments. Alternatively, you could pass the charge on to the customer (adding a set fee to credit card transactions). This means that you don’t make any loss, but the customer still has the choice to use this kind of payment method.

These are just a couple of different ways to guarantee your customers’ safety when they choose to shop online with you. Keep them at the forefront of your mind at all times and consider implementing them into your business plan in the near future!

Old School And New Approaches: Essentials For Running A Store In The Modern World

Some of the key focuses of my blog are: Financial Literacy, Wealth Building, Business and Entrepreneurship. Doing business has changed significantly in today’s digital/information age. Many ‘brick and mortar’ retail stores have folded altogether, while others have had to rethink their business models in order to survive. What are the keys to running store in the modern world? The following contributed post is entitled; Old School And New Approaches: Essentials For Running A Store In The Modern World.

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There are two schools of thought when it comes to setting up a retail store in the modern world. Firstly, you may find that your target audience doesn’t physically go shopping, but prefer to go online. But, conversely, the demand for a physical store in recent years has seen a rise. And if you are selling products of various types, the temptation could be to go via an online marketplace, but you could find that you are neglecting certain parts of your target market. But, are there things we can do to harness the online capabilities with the offline capabilities in a physical setting?

Implementing The Quick Checkout Service
The best way to marry the fast checkout service of an online store with the personal approach to the modern retail store is to have online payment services inside the store. The vast majority of stores have self-service methods to pay now, as well as various ways in which to provide payment, such as through your cell phone. But in addition to this, you need to still implement a personal approach to your customers, and this can be quite tricky to get right because it depends on each individual customer. At the end of the day, the customers come into a physical store because they want ease of access to a product, and they want to see it themselves. So, as soon as they find that the product suits their needs, they want to be able to pay for it without lengthy queues. On the other hand, others still prefer that old school approach. Implementing both covers all bases.

Taking Responsibility For Your Customers
And as the physical setting requires a lot more consideration in relation to health and safety, this means that you have a few more things to consider in comparison to an online store. Whether this is employers liability insurance just in case of accidents in your store, or ensuring there’s enough space for your customers to walk around, this is a deft combination of legal compliance with common sense. Taking responsibility for your customers isn’t just relating to the safety side of things, but also ensuring they have a good experience in your store, and this boils down to how your employees interact with the customers.

Looking After Your Workers
A very easy thing to overlook nowadays is the impact that your workers can have on the customers. Because personal interaction is at an all-time low, with the reliance of the internet to do the vast majority of our work for us, the personal touch is a very difficult thing to achieve. This is why you have to work with your employees to ensure that they are not just representing your store properly, but they have the common courtesy that we demand as customers. But in addition to this, the retail industry is notoriously underpaid and overworked, which this is something else you have to think about when it comes to making your employees work effectively for you, but that they’re also happy in the position.

The best retail store is a component of the old school personal methods, with the modern technological approaches. It’s a tricky balance, but they are both essential in the modern retail store.